A rumbling, deep beneath the surface of the earth. A new beast has awoken and starts to stir, its powerful boneless form rending the flesh of our world as it begins its ascent from subterranea, upwards towards humankind. A beast unlike any seen before, yet steeped in ancient tradition. That beast is ORM.
Hailing from Denmark they’ve recently released their debut full-length on Indisciplinarian, and what a debut it is. Taking the template of traditional black metal and expanding on it whilst telling tales based upon ancient sagas, it’s a release that’s been gathering much well-deserved attention. They’ve kindly taken the time to sit down amidst it all and answer a few quick questions about their self-titled album and its stirring take on the blackened arts. Jump in and be bitten by the ORM.
Hi guys! Thanks for speaking to us.
– No worries, the pleasure is ours.
We’ll start with some history: How long has the Orm been active and how did you form?
– The band ORM has been active since 2015 but we as musicians have been playing together for over ten years. The four of us were in a death/thrash quintet before ORM but after touring and releasing records for a number of years we kind of started feeling that the band had lived its life. When our singer quit the band after having recorded our third full length then we knew that we had to lay the band to rest. The four of us weren’t done with playing music though, and having experimented with black metal music on the last couple of releases it really felt natural to venture further down that path. We started rehearsing and writing songs just the four of us and decided to split the vocals between Simon and Theis (guitars), and we instantly loved the sound. It felt like we were finally home music-wise and so ORM saw the light of day.
What is the mythology behind Orm, and where did it come from?
– In both music, lyrics and imagery ORM is set around Scandinavian mythology. We wanted to tell the tale of a serpent (inspired by the Midgårdsorm or Midgaards Serpent in English) that arises from the deep to cast judgement on mankind. The story has a lot of similarities with the tale of Ragnarok and so the old sagas has been kind of a fixing point in our narrative. For most parts though we wanted to use the mythology as metaphors for personal and social conflicts that we see in modern society. The human race has commited hubris to such an extend that we are bound to be punished at some point. By climate change, nuclear war or by something otherworldly like a giant sea serpent. We chose to describe the latter.
Your self-titled debut album was recently released and it’s an absolute ripper! It’s scored countless positive reviews, which must feel amazing. Have you seen any negative reviews at all?
– Thanks! Yes, we have seen a lot of really great reviews and to our knowledge there hasn’t been anyone who absolutely hated it. I would have liked to tell you that we didn’t care about the reviews but having worked so intensely on the album of course we are interested in hearing what other people think of it. At some point though Metal Hammer or Pitchfork are going to come along and tear the album to pieces, but until then we are enjoying all the positive feedback.
It’s a remarkably accomplished album for a debut! It feels like you’ve nailed your own sound straight out of the gates, infusing a fresh take with a strong understanding of the power at black metal’s original source to create something exhilarating. What was the writing process like?
– Thanks again! As I mentioned we have been playing together for a long time, so even though this is our first take on this type of music it isn’t the first time we’ve done an album. I think that we’ve become pretty good at structuring our writing process and we’ve definitely become more skilled musicians and songwriters over the last ten years. It is always hard for me to tell when the process begins but with this album we were really focused on creating something that we hadn’t done before. We set up a small recording studio in our rehearsal space and just started experimenting. Over time something started to develop and we just went where the music took us. That’s probably why the songs are so long, once we got going the songs kind of progressed and took us in new directions.
In amongst the melodic black metal fury are some soaring choral female vocals, a real surprise. I feel they mesh with and add to everything exceptionally well; you have such an honest sound and they don’t come off as cheesy or overly theatrical at all, which is sometimes easy for that sort of thing to fall into. What inspired you to include them, and who performed them?
– I think we wanted to do an album that had a lot of different layers and atmospheres. At the center of it all we knew that it should be us playing live, no bullshit, no triggers or sound replacements etc. But, we also wanted that extra layer that could inspire the listener and their imagination. The choir seemed like an obvious choice. Our producer, Lasse Ballade, is an old punk and surprisingly enough, one of his old friends is now a choir leader at a church in Copenhagen. We wrote down the sheet and a choir of six beautiful girls sang it to perfection. You can only hear a small part of it on the record but it was really majestic.
Going back to the “honest sound” comment: the album sounds nicely organic, huge tones, warm but not overdone. I think it’s great, and works especially well with the rockin’ almost traditional doom-y passages you have peppered throughout. Did it come out exactly how you wanted it? Were there any hassles with recording?
– It did! And no there weren’t. That being said, it was the first time that we recorded live and that was of course an extra challenge. But it worked very well for us, and we feel that recording live better captures the nerve and energy in our music. Lasse, who recorded the album, works odd hours, so instead of 9 to 5 it was more like 5 to 3 am! But it turned out really great, and Lasse’s production really supports the music well.
What do you hope people feel when listening to Orm?
– We hope they get absorbed into the imagery and the sonic universe of the album. We’ve left it quite open to the listener to make their own interpretations of the music, so everyone’s experience will be different. But hopefully they feel the worm slithering from the underground into the world.
You just started playing shows last year, you have one coming up supporting Wolves In the Throne Room soon. How’s the material been going in a live setting? Have the shows been positive experiences?
– The shows have been great so far. All the material is written and recorded to be played in a live setting, so it is very natural for us to play the album live. We are a no-bullshit band, and we don’t use clicktracks or backing tracks, so seeing us live is a raw experience of four musicians doing what they do.
I’ve noticed you guys have a totem when playing live, which appears to be a snake with candles. What’s the special significance of this?
– It is actually a golden viking ship with candles. We feel it brings a nice touch to the live show and captures the atmosphere of the music, and it also focuses the audience’s attention to the center of the stage. We really want the music to carry the live experience.
Any plans to tour further abroad?
– Not so far, no, but we’re open if someone wants to book us!
When you aren’t doing Orm, do you guys have any other projects going on?
– Not as of now, but we’ve had other commitments in the past. Simon played in the rock band Förtress, but they’re calling it quits this May.
What’s the Danish Black Metal scene like? Any other local bands we should check out?
– The black metal scene in Denmark has seen a small revival in the last couple of years. In particular, bands such as Solbrud and Slægt, and of course Myrkur, have gathered a lot of attention within and outside the country. Solbrud and Slægt are releasing new albums this spring as well.
What lies in the future of the Orm?
– Hopefully a lot! We’re playing some shows in Denmark this spring and summer, and then we’re planning to record an EP this autumn. Hopefully, we can push our music further outside the small country of Denmark. Our music has been very well received, so we definitely hope that someone in the countries surrounding Denmark will work with us and listen to our music.
Sincerest thanks again for speaking with us! Any final words?
– Thank you for doing this interview with us and the detailed questions! We appreciate the work you’ve put into creating some meaningful questions for us to answer. See you out there!
Download Orm’s incredible self-titled debut at name-your-price from here:
Stream/buy Orm on various formats here.
Purchase Orm Vinyl direct from Indisciplinarian here.
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